You're already spending part of your budget on Search Engine Marketing. You've done your research into the most effective keywords for your product and you spend some time every day looking at incoming traffic numbers and the traffic sources. We know that traffic is important in helping you achieve the goals you have set for your site, but what else should you be concentrating on?

What does your landing/homepage look like? When all that traffic appears at your door, what are you doing to make it feel welcome? How effective is your landing page at turning those visitors into paying customers?

Today, when so many sites are turning to video to make a great first impression on their visitors, they need to find a way to determine how effective that video is. It's not even that video costs more money than anything else. You can produce a homegrown video with a little planning and imagination using your own camera, spokesperson, lighting and editing software. You can find a free hosting solution if you're prepared for your video to contain links to another site when it finishes playing. In short, the actual video may cost you nothing… and yet I still believe you have to prove ROI. The reason for this is that while the investment in the video may be zero, the placement of that video on your homepage takes up valuable real estate that could be used for something else.

Every element of your page should be aimed at driving your site visitors towards your commercial goal, whether that is subscription, download or purchase. This herding of visitors towards your goal represents your conversion funnel.

When you turn to video as one of your homepage attractions you need to be sure that it will be more effective than the alternatives at driving conversion for your site. Even if the investment in the video is minimal you are making an investment just by hosting a video where you could be running some other kind of messaging.

Once you determine that every element of your page needs to defend its value against alternatives you need to come up with a strategy for establishing that value. The question of how to judge the value of your video has a number of different answers. Take a look at this list of metrics and try to decide which is the best one for determining the effectiveness of your video when it is placed on your homepage:

  • The number of people that start watching your video
  • The number of people that watch more than half of your video
  • The number of people that watch your entire video
  • The number of people that engage with your video by selecting additional chapters, changing the language option or sending a link to the video to a friend
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While these kinds of one-dimensional video metrics may be the only ones available from any free-hosting solution they severely limit your ability to see the big picture. It is not enough to simply collect statistics on video usage. The number of people watching your video represents the number of people watching your video and nothing more.

The solution is to add an additional comparative dimension to your measurements:

  • The number of people who continue down the conversion funnel on a page showing the video relative to the number of people who continue down the conversion funnel on the same page without the video

There are two things going on in this test scenario that are worth mentioning. The first is that the effectiveness of your video should be tied directly to the number of people that achieve the conversion goal you have established. In other words, video is not only about moving images and engaged viewers sticking around for longer, instead video is now a key driver of traffic down the conversion funnel. The second takeaway from here is that the only true way to measure any homepage element's effectiveness is comparative, split or A/B testing. This has long been accepted for static elements like banners, pictures and text, but it needs to become part of your strategy too for video.

For too long, video has received a free pass from websites just happy to have a little excitement on their homepage. The added complexities involved in A/B testing video has left it outside the bank of page elements with measurable ROI. Only by treating online video as you would every other aspect of your homepage will it become a mainstream part of your conversion strategy demanding more of your online budget as it drives bigger increases in your online revenue.

  • Daniel Sevitt

    Hey Mike,

    Sorry to have annoyed you.

    1. I'm on great terms with all my old colleagues at Metacafe and I apologize if my glib description of the difficulties of monetizing online video with advertising offended you. Metacafe is a fantastic destination site and a great place to work - I was and remain a huge fan.

    2. I'm delighted that you found my suggestions trivial. That puts you in a rare group of people that understands the importance of both video and metrics. Did you take our Video Marketing Quiz? There are some really interesting yet counter-intuitive results there for different kinds of tests. I promise to try to "wow" you with deeper insights in future posts.

    Oh, and thanks for the link to EyeView's case studies. I'm glad you enjoyed them more than this post, it means I haven't disappointed you entirely!

    3. I love the TubeMogul team. Those guys were way ahead of the curve and continue to provide great service. Also, I think Treepodia is doing fantastic work. You guys have a really strong handle on the importance of video for eCommerce and you're all over the A/B testing as well which makes you heroes in my book.

    Thanks for all the feedback.



  • Mike Darnell

    Let me begin with some disclosure - I've recently become affiliated with the ecommerce video solution.

    Now that that's out of the way...

    I read Daniel's post and I must admit I'm slightly annoyed.

    Although I have no relation to Metacafe I think they probably deserve better from the man who headed their content decision than being snubbed as "“unmanageable UGC, unimpressive CPM and unaccountable ROI" - If Daniel really felt that way at Metcafe he could have left... It would definitely be far more dignified than whining about them in his sign-off.

    Daniel is recommending we monitor the metrics that count - i.e. how a page converts performs with the video as opposed to how it performs without it. I think I expected some deeper insights than this rather trivial tip. It's not that I don't think this is important but numbers benchmarking the effect videos have on conversion are readily available from a multitude of sources:
    - Quotations by ecommerce operators

    - White papers by ecommerce video solution providers (EyeView have an entire section dedicated to this on their website:

    - Posts from marketing specialists, etc. (here's a recent example - an InternetRetailing post by Sheila Dahlgren, senior director of marketing at Adobe Scene7:

    I guess my disappointment is due to the fact that I was hoping to read the type of insights one can only get from an expert, and not something as banal as - "Make sure you monitor effects via A/B testing"

    Increasingly ecommerce video solutions come with integrated analytics tools that allow users to follow performance quite closely across a wide range of metrics. Examples: I personally am well impressed with the metrics deliver for video campaign tracking across multiple websites - search terms, comparison between versions, comparison across platforms, attention spans, embed player tracking, etc. (I literally can't think of something i want they don't provide).
    As far as using statistics to drive conversions is concerned offers a solution that automatically creates a few versions for every product video, tracks the conversion performance of each version and thus gradually optimizes the coupling of videos to products using the most important metric of all - the etailers bottom line...


    • Mark Robertson

      Thanks Mike. Regarding #1, To Daniel's defense, I put that in quotes as that was the byline Daniel submitted but I dont think he was trying to point directly to metacafe as a problem but more so the type of content (UGC). I read it that way the first time as well so I see where you are coming from but with regard to your other comments, I think that perhaps you are ahead of the curve, which is a good thing, of course. Thanks for your insight and comment

  • Robert Dempsey

    Thanks for this post Daniel. I hate to admit it however I've gotten so caught up in the metrics of the video itself that I didn't stop to determine whether or not the video itself is effective. Thanks for the splash of cold water.